i have been lucky enougn to have some of the pre production samples for testing of the new Gaastra Jeckyll kites, i just wanted to write a quick review on these and before i start i have no affiliation with any company!
first impressions when i pulled them out of the almost libriarian looking bag was, "these look great". i recieved a 12 (red and olive) and a 10 (olive), some of the other other riders poo pooed the colours but i really like the olive. the build quality on these kites is top notch with cordura on the wingtips (this is a material they use on some motocross pants), pads over the strut tips and good solid stitching. even though the kites are strongly built they are still very light.
the bridle is a simple direct attachment with two attachments for the rear lines, the rear line attachment came on the forward attachment so i flew the kite on it to start off with.
the bar that comes with the kite is in my opinion a little on the cheap side, the bar ends are very basic but have a cool feature that allows you to put the lines on the inside or outside depending on what size kite you are riding, i used the outside setting for the 12 and the inside for the 10. i did try flying the 12 on the inside setting and it was turning too slowly for me.
what the bar ends lack is made up for by suppling the great quality lines and nice safety release on the chicken loop, this is very easy to release and put back together! when the lines where set to length there was very little stretch so im guessing they should last very well, after flying the kites i have since re checked the lines and they have all stretched the same amount.
these kites where burning a hole in my trunk while there was no wind (typical!), so the first test flight was done in a park at the beach in about 5 knots. i managed to self launch the 12 and keep the kite in the air. it flew very well considering the light gusty wind and using the apparent wind in the next to nothing lulls it stayed up and had decent power across the window! excellent low end.
the next session i managed to get out on the water in 15kts and had a blast! i started on a surfboard and had plenty of power. i found the jeckyll had a very nice turn and the feeling on the bar from the direct bridle grew on me towards the end of the session. with out the pulleys on the bridle there is a slightly heavier bar pressure but it is still nothing to cry about!
this is an amazing upwind kite, it just wants to surge upwind! after the wind filled in a little bit i traded my surfbard for a twin tip and was effortlessly making ground i short tacks.
after crashing the kite a few times i had a few problems with launching it, i found that grabbing a handfull of the centreline when it was directly downwind and pulling it in helped to put the kite on its back and then pulling the side line got it up ok but not fast enough for my liking. since i have change the rear lines to the rear attachment points and the re launching is much easier, this has also made the kite turn really fast and surprisingly not increase the bar pressure too much!
after riding the 12 i have given the 10 a good workout and both these kites perform really well, its a shame i have have to give these demo's back
overall i found these kites to have great lowend grunt, fast turning and a wide range. i have since ridden the 12 in some strong winds and the kite still rides well depowered. gaastra have done an excellent job on the build quality but the bar could do with some more work in regards to the cheap looking ends.
the extra attachment points are nice for the tinkerer who likes to play with different settings and there is plety of room for tinkering with maybe thinking about putting some pulleys onto the bridle??
if you get the chance to have blat on one of these kites dont pass it up! i think this kite could possibly put gaastra back on the map as one of the great kite manufactures.
pics to posted shortly.